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Touch Me in the Morning

The contests of all contests. No, not eating 50 hot dogs in less than five minutes and watching them all exit the body faster then you put them in. How about winning a new car just by keeping a hand on it for as long as you possibly can?

When organizers put these “games” in motion, it’s sure to raise eyebrows, especially for a car guy like me who can always stand to use another set of wheels. Cool, no monthly payments attached. Do I feel lucky?

Just recently, at the Washington Auto Show, a man won a brand spanking new 2018 Hyundai Tucson (worth $29,000) just for continuously “touching” the vehicle. In the end, he was the last man standing, or should we say — touching.

Cramming Nathan’s finest all beef wieners down your throat within a few minutes is a virtual sprint to the finish. Touching or palming a car for four or five days on end is a marathon. A grueling mental test that can literally bring a man or woman to their knees.

Russell West, the winner of the Tucson, had to endure for five days. He was one of six contestants left. Contest rules said the remaining six got to draw a key out of a bowl. The one with the key that started the vehicle got the prize!

My thoughts and prayers go out to the five unlucky people who latched their limbs to a foreign (and foregone) SUV like a barnacle to an old boat and came away with nothing. Well, actually with sore feet, upset stomach, lack of sleep, dehydration, malnourishment and a big dose of discontent.

I am most certain all nonfunctioning keys got promptly tossed in the river.

On a positive note, Mr. West really needed the new vehicle, as his old one was totally shot. His elderly parents depended on daily transportation, and he delivers food to homeless shelters. Bravo. West said he and other contestants, “worked to keep each other positive and kept encouraging each other.”

I am not so sure I would be speaking to others cordially after we all stink, are ravenously looking for decent food, and illusions are setting in. I may want to push them off the vehicle and disqualify all of us!

Back in 2012, a guy named Song Changjiang from China, 27 at the time, won a BMW 1 Series after keeping his hand glued to it for four days and three nights. Over 120 contestants, ages 18 to 40 tried to win the car. Organizers put palm-shaped stickers on several vehicles, and all participants had to do was keep a hand on it as long as they could. This was definitely not a case of “hey ma, look, no hands!”

After several days went by, it became apparent this was no easy feat. Photos started to leak to the world web of exhausted contestants (prize prisoners?) collapsed on the ground, sleeping on their feet, and slumped over, being carried away by family members.

The rules: contestants were allowed a 15-minute break every four hours to eat, sleep, or use the toilet.

At this particular event, out of the 140 entered, only three were left at the end. One quit in tears after his legs had swollen to the point he couldn’t walk. The second gave up three hours later. Thus, it was a “Swan song for Song.”

He didn’t even get to keep the car, only getting to use it for a five-year span. “I won, but it was not worth it, I’d never do it again,” he proclaimed. “At the end, I didn’t have the strength to eat. Even if there is an award of a million, I will not take part in a contest like this in the future.”

And neither shall Gerry Ayers.

My intestines (or lack of since two feet were removed in 2016) could not “stomach” a hot dog devouring contest. And the time needed to “win” a car by merely “touching it” could probably produce a small down payment. Plus, I could eat, sleep and excrete like a normal person.

Just when I thought the lunacy was over, Mercedes Benz comes up with a new twist on an old theme. This time you “only” had to keep your finger on a moving car shown on your phone or computer screen to win a new car. Forget leg cramps, just point your finger and touch!

The company notes this may go on for hours, days or even (gasp) weeks. However, in this case, the prize jewel awaiting is a 2018 Mercedes-AMG C43 coupe.

Some of you might have been enticed to enter this one. A three-pointed star in your driveway could be interesting. You could do this contest in your living room, just don’t plan on peeling a banana, taking a bath, or doing anything meaningful for an extended period of time. I guess it’s a tad better than the “hands on the car” contest meant having BOTH hands on the car till you were the last one.

I suppose you could practice for that one. Pretend you got arrested and made to stand next to your vehicle with hands above your head, resting on the roof. You are getting frisked for days on end. Enjoy and keep your head upright.

Read between the lines, and you’ll easily see this isn’t a contest, but a form of torture. Diana Ross said way back in 1973, “Touch me in the morning, then just walk away.”

Pretty solid and sane advice to all potential participants.

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